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Alt.history Challenge - No Reformation, Does The Industrial Revolution Happen?


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I seem to recall reading that arose partly because of the distances involved, partly because the Russian state was so poor. Corruption arose because many state officials were on such a poor salary, it was expected they would cook the books to be able to make a living.

Yes, Russia was ruled like an Empire, just like British Empire. Difference was that Russia did not have similar compact 'heartland' for the Empire like England or France. That 'heartland' was ruled in somewhat similar fashion to what say, British Crown ruled India, for example. Suited well for continuity, but not so much rapid development of technology or institutions.

 

 

The Irony is, that when America was expanding over the same period, they were increasingly bringing the newly formed states closer via the telegraph. Russia it seems to me never really saw the results of a similar process, except perhaps in Soviet times.

 

 

Exactly. The industrialisation and modernization happened with soviet autocracy and the accompanying sacrifices in lifes, because they forced it hard. Didn't Lenin say something like communism is soviet power plus electrificaton or soemthing like that? Most parts of russia were technoligically somewhere in the middle ages plus the giant size of the country and distances to connect with infrastructure. And the climate of course, that slows down many things.

 

 

that was an old joke

Lenin - communism is soviet power plus electrification of the whole country

 

but then.... soviet power is communism minus electrification

and electrification is soviet power minus communism

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The sad irony is that in 1914, the European country with the highest growth was... Russia.

Not so much irony as starting from a dreadfully low, feudal even, base. Far too late to avoid the inevitable.
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I would not say so. By 1914 they were designing and building their own Dreadnought capital ships. Ok, the designs had room for improvement and some components had to be imported but less and less so.

 

What screwed them during the war, were decisions taken during the war. Starting with not encoding radio messages because the Germans weren't expected to speak Russian, after that they took time to realize they were loosing 200k rifles...

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I would not say so. By 1914 they were designing and building their own Dreadnought capital ships. Ok, the designs had room for improvement and some components had to be imported but less and less so.

 

What screwed them during the war, were decisions taken during the war. Starting with not encoding radio messages because the Germans weren't expected to speak Russian, after that they took time to realize they were loosing 200k rifles...

 

Well the dreadnaughts were new, but the ships were not. They actually imported British shipbuilders (Mainly scottish I think) as early as the 1880's to build up their navy. They were possibly one of the first nations to build warships indoors. They had to so they could construct over the winter months.

 

So as shipbuilding, they were not bad. The problem comes when your realise the industrialization to build ships only occurred in about 3 places in the country. St Petersburg, Sevastopol and Vladivostok. And damn near everywhere else was untouched.

 

They actually had a pretty good army in 1914, but they never built up like the other European nations a means of mass production of equipment. So when they had the early losses, they had nothing left that could replace it. They probably could have done, but there was nobody in a position able to organize it. They never had a Lord Beaverbrook or a Lord Kitchener.

 

I guess put simply, there was no real entrepreneur class. When the state failed to do something, nobody else was there to pick it up.

 

From what Christopher Andrew says, they had the best sigint service in Europe in 1914 by far. There was hardly anyone's cypher they werent cracking. A trend the Soviets continued for many years.

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Russia failed to produce enough ammo, hey ended up like the ARVN of 1975.

 

Sigint?

You remember the saying

Tsars come and commissars go but the secret police are forever.

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Sigint, yeah, there was something about it on this Christopher Andrew lecture. I have to admit he is quite right, Ive never heard reference to the Russians being good at hacking communications. It puts the 1914 crisis and the response to it in a new light, because the Russians clearly new what Germany was proposing the Austro Hungarians.

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That's very interesting, I didn't know that.

The Russians sunk a German destroyer. The crew threw the codebooks overboard in a weighed pouch. The books were printed in water-soluble ink, but being a German pouch, it worked too well and kept the books dry, which the Russians later recovered.

 

Naturally, the Germans never suspected their codes had been compromised and kept using them.

 

Then there was the story of the German spy who tried to get to Afghanistan to cause trouble and had his luggage (codebooks included) confiscated by the Brits. His luggage sat at a warehouse for months until someone thought to look inside...

 

WWII code breaking is full of technology and mathematicians. WWI was cloak and dagger stuff.

Edited by Mikel2
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They actually had a pretty good army in 1914, but they never built up like the other European nations a means of mass production of equipment. So when they had the early losses, they had nothing left that could replace it. They probably could have done, but there was nobody in a position able to organize it. They never had a Lord Beaverbrook or a Lord Kitchener.

 

I guess put simply, there was no real entrepreneur class. When the state failed to do something, nobody else was there to pick it up.

 

 

C&Rsenal and Ian have a lot on the matter of rifles. First they failed to take into consideration peacetime wear and tear -a minor mistake-, then they had reduced arsenal production to less then 20% of capacity. That really hurt them because of the time to un-mothball the machinery get the workforce back. It was made worse by the lack of repair depots for merely damaged rifles. These were pre war mistakes but not acknowledging the scope of the problem and then taking it slow to fix it was entirely avoidable. They could have lit a fire under the inspectors. Or ordered the Winchesters in .30-06. Later they were happy with any non standard caliber as long as ammo could be supplied.

 

Industrialisation wise they were later than the competition but that alone wasn't their downfall during the war.

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I would not say so. By 1914 they were designing and building their own Dreadnought capital ships. Ok, the designs had room for improvement and some components had to be imported but less and less so.

 

Weren't the Ganguts an Italian design? I think most of modern Russian designs were designed by, or with assistance of foreign ship designers. Something which really continued until WW2 in fact.

 

Well the dreadnaughts were new, but the ships were not. They actually imported British shipbuilders (Mainly scottish I think) as early as the 1880's to build up their navy. They were possibly one of the first nations to build warships indoors. They had to so they could construct over the winter months.

 

So as shipbuilding, they were not bad. The problem comes when your realise the industrialization to build ships only occurred in about 3 places in the country. St Petersburg, Sevastopol and Vladivostok. And damn near everywhere else was untouched.

Tallinn had major yards as well, and Finnish shipbuilding industry was really started under Russian rule and built large number of warships for Imperial Navy, though not anything bigger than a destroyer. But in large scale of things these were small fry, of course.

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I would not say so. By 1914 they were designing and building their own Dreadnought capital ships. Ok, the designs had room for improvement and some components had to be imported but less and less so.

 

Weren't the Ganguts an Italian design? I think most of modern Russian designs were designed by, or with assistance of foreign ship designers. Something which really continued until WW2 in fact.

 

Well the dreadnaughts were new, but the ships were not. They actually imported British shipbuilders (Mainly scottish I think) as early as the 1880's to build up their navy. They were possibly one of the first nations to build warships indoors. They had to so they could construct over the winter months.

 

So as shipbuilding, they were not bad. The problem comes when your realise the industrialization to build ships only occurred in about 3 places in the country. St Petersburg, Sevastopol and Vladivostok. And damn near everywhere else was untouched.

Tallinn had major yards as well, and Finnish shipbuilding industry was really started under Russian rule and built large number of warships for Imperial Navy, though not anything bigger than a destroyer. But in large scale of things these were small fry, of course.

 

wiki:

The requirements for a new class of dreadnoughts were in a state of flux during 1907, but Vickers Ltd submitted a design that met the latest specifications and was very nearly accepted by the Navy for a 22,000-long-ton (22,000 t) ship with twelve 12-inch (305 mm) guns in triple, superimposed turrets. However rumors of a contract with Vickers raised a public outcry as they had some problems with the armored cruiser Rurik then building in England. The Naval Ministry defused the situation on 30 December 1907[Note 1] by announcing an international design contest with the ship built in Russia regardless of the nationality of the winning firm. By the deadline of 12 March 1908 a total of 51 designs had been submitted by 13 different shipyards. The winner of the competition was a design from the German firm of Blohm & Voss, but the French protested that they did not want to see any of the money that they had loaned Russia to build up its defenses in German pockets.[2] The Russians bought the design for 250,000 rubles and shelved it to placate both sides. A design by the Baltic Works had been the runner-up and was revised for the Navy's updated requirements with a complete design to be presented by 22 March 1909. This was extended by a month to allow the Baltic Works to finalize its contract with the British firm of John Brown & Company for design assistance with the hull form and machinery.[3]

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I would not say so. By 1914 they were designing and building their own Dreadnought capital ships. Ok, the designs had room for improvement and some components had to be imported but less and less so.

 

Weren't the Ganguts an Italian design? I think most of modern Russian designs were designed by, or with assistance of foreign ship designers. Something which really continued until WW2 in fact.

 

Well the dreadnaughts were new, but the ships were not. They actually imported British shipbuilders (Mainly scottish I think) as early as the 1880's to build up their navy. They were possibly one of the first nations to build warships indoors. They had to so they could construct over the winter months.

 

So as shipbuilding, they were not bad. The problem comes when your realise the industrialization to build ships only occurred in about 3 places in the country. St Petersburg, Sevastopol and Vladivostok. And damn near everywhere else was untouched.

Tallinn had major yards as well, and Finnish shipbuilding industry was really started under Russian rule and built large number of warships for Imperial Navy, though not anything bigger than a destroyer. But in large scale of things these were small fry, of course.

 

wiki:

The requirements for a new class of dreadnoughts were in a state of flux during 1907, but Vickers Ltd submitted a design that met the latest specifications and was very nearly accepted by the Navy for a 22,000-long-ton (22,000 t) ship with twelve 12-inch (305 mm) guns in triple, superimposed turrets. However rumors of a contract with Vickers raised a public outcry as they had some problems with the armored cruiser Rurik then building in England. The Naval Ministry defused the situation on 30 December 1907[Note 1] by announcing an international design contest with the ship built in Russia regardless of the nationality of the winning firm. By the deadline of 12 March 1908 a total of 51 designs had been submitted by 13 different shipyards. The winner of the competition was a design from the German firm of Blohm & Voss, but the French protested that they did not want to see any of the money that they had loaned Russia to build up its defenses in German pockets.[2] The Russians bought the design for 250,000 rubles and shelved it to placate both sides. A design by the Baltic Works had been the runner-up and was revised for the Navy's updated requirements with a complete design to be presented by 22 March 1909. This was extended by a month to allow the Baltic Works to finalize its contract with the British firm of John Brown & Company for design assistance with the hull form and machinery.[3]

 

 

There has been a claims (that was continued in the TV show) that Sidney Reilly contrived to ensure the Germans won the bid, just so he would have an opportunity to spy on the latest German Naval technology. There is no proof of that of course, and Reilly was a notorious liar.

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Beating nearly dead horse yet again, I saw this map, showing literacy rates in European Russia in 1897:

EA7niDJXoAAePqc.jpg

 

Only formerly Swedish regions had very high literacy rate. Discussion pointed to Swedish church law which required that every child should demonstrate ability to read and understand basic tenets of faith. This was quite huge advance as it forced rural parishes to teach reading, whereas previously only proportion of the urban population (and usually mostly boys) had access to basic education.

 

Deeper discussion of the advance of literacy. It points to that while Reformation had signifant impetus, it was not a miracle cure, real progress took couple of centuries to achieve. Also there were Catholic regions with similar advances. Seems like much depended on how interested regional authorities were to meet the nominal requirements.

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